Dinosaur Graveyard Unearthed in Chile

Friday, 06 Jun 2014 02:20 PM

By Drew MacKenzie

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A massive dinosaur graveyard containing dozens of nearly perfect ichthyosaur skeletons has been discovered in the southern part of Chile, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

The prehistoric ichthyosaur, which means fish-lizard, is a fast-moving dolphin-like creature that lived during the Mesozoic era, about 245 million to 90 million years ago.

"This great ichthyosaur cemetery, the way the remains are deposited, is unique," Christian Salazar, paleontologist researcher and natural history museum curator, told the CBC.

"It's the most recent great find in their history. That's going to answer a lot of questions about how they became extinct, where they migrated to, how they lived."

The remains of the 46 ichthyosaurs were found after three months of excavation in the Torres del Paine National Park in the Patagonia region.

The paleontology researchers also discovered rare soft tissue amongst the fossils, according to the Geological Society of America Bulletin, which recently published the findings.

The sea monsters, which reportedly hunted in packs seeking small fish and squid, are believed to have become extinct millions of years before the better-known dinosaur varieties after they were killed off by catastrophic mudslides from volcanic activity, the CBC said.

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